Big Love For Big Dogs At Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation

Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation ambassador Jean Shafiroff and her rescue pit bull, Bella. J GRASSI AT PMC

Of the 48 dogs at the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation in Hampton Bays, 44 are classified as “big dogs.” This month, in honor of big dogs like President-elect Joe Biden’s two German shepherds, Major and Champ, SASF ambassador-at-large and philanthropist Jean Shafiroff is hosting a toy and food drive with an emphasis on big dogs.

Big dogs generally weigh over 40 pounds and despite often lovable, playful natures, are slow to be adopted.

Currently nurturing Rosita, who was rescued from Antigua, Ms. Shafiroff is a passionate animal lover. She’s rehomed several animals and has been a tireless advocate for removing the stigma attached to big dogs, specifically pit bulls.

“I am a firm believer in ‘adopt, don’t shop,’ and the sad truth is that larger dogs aren’t adopted as quickly as smaller dogs,” she said. “My family and I have adopted several animals from shelters, including two pit bulls, who were sweet-natured, playful and great family dogs. I am happy to see an adopted dog heading to the White House, and I hope this encourages more people to adopt all breeds of dogs.”

Major will be the first shelter dog to ever live at the White House. The 2-year-old was adopted from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018.

At 12 years old, Champ knows his way around Pennsylvania Avenue, having visited when Mr. Biden was vice president.

Major is the first shelter pet, but not the first rescue, to find a home in the White House. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s daughter Luci adopted an abandoned dog, and the Clintons rehomed a rescued cat, Socks.

The SASF is currently the temporary home of 48 dogs, 91 cats, a chinchilla, five guinea pigs and five bunnies, according to director of adoptions Kate McEntee.

They’d all love extra treats for the holidays.

“By hosting this food drive, it helps the shelter offset our costs of having to order food. Every bag donated is a bag we don’t have buy. It is a tremendous help, especially around this time,” Ms. McEntee said.

Donations can be dropped off at the shelter between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or ordered online and delivered directly. Suggestions for gifts include Kong brand toys, Nylabone brand bones, soft dog treats, cat treats, mouse-shaped cat toys, peanut butter, rabbit chews/toys, rabbit food, guinea pig food, and kitten canned and dry food.

The shelter asks that donors do not give rawhide bones or toys. To make a monetary donation, visit

“In the spirit of the holidays, it is much appreciated that Jean Shafiroff is leading this pet food and toy drive for the pets at Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation,” Executive Director Joseph Sprague said. “On behalf of the foundation, we would like to thank Jean for all her support and this wonderful idea.”